Last week's AEW Dynamite was one of the biggest episodes ever for a number of reasons. One was the AEW debut of Sting, but another was the announcement that AEW and Impact Wrestling had entered into a cross-promotional partnership.
Two people heavily involved in the deal – AEW VPs Matt and Nick Jackson – discussed the Impact partnership when The Bucks were interviewed by Jon Alba on the The Living The Gimmick podcast.
"Two years ago, this is something Nick and I actually brought up," said Matt Jackson. "We wanted to get this going. For whatever reason, it didn't work out. I don't know if it was more on our side or what. We just couldn't get everyone to agree on what the creative would be.
"When Nick and I were stopping at all the indie shows and going to AAA, that was one of the suggestions we had. What if we showed up at Impact? This is something we've been screaming at Tony Khan's ear for two years. We're all about collaboration and partnering with everybody. This is what we've always done. Even back with Ring of Honor, we got The Hardys to come in when they were part of Impact. That was also part of our plan.
"This is something that we truly wanted to do for a very long time. Finally, I guess the timing was right. What do I know about it? It's still so early. I don't think, collectively, we all know what this means. I think we're just dipping our toes in right now and we're going to see what we can get out of it. There are immediate plans that I can't give away right now. If I had it my way, I just think of the possible dream matches."
Matt then listed off some of the dream matches that have run through his head, and he admits that it's difficult to not play the role of a fantasy booker.
"People are already hitting me up and they're just like, 'Oh my God! Can you imagine The Young Bucks vs. The Motor City Machine Guns?!' How can you not jump ahead and kind of have a fantasy booking? The teams that they have-- The North is fantastic. I remember we wrestled them on the indies five or six years ago. We tore the house down," said Matt.
"I think about wrestling them, of course. Obviously, there's a match that could happen that probably never even been thought of. They got The Good Brothers there, and they're the champs. You want to fantasy book but you also don't want to get too ahead of yourself. The fan in me, I think of those places and I'm like, 'God, we can do some really good stuff.' Are we going to do that stuff? I'm not sure yet. We're still at the beginning of this, but there are some big surprises and I'm really excited about it."
From their time working both Ring of Honor and New Japan, the Bucks are well-versed in pro wrestling partnerships. Nick was asked what partnering does and why it's needed in today's wrestling landscape.
"First off, it just makes wrestling interesting, and that's something wrestling hasn't had in many years. This is a way to make things interesting, and if you do it right, it can be very good and very good for business," stated Nick.
"It worked well when we have done it in the past. Our program with The Hardys, which did massive business for Ring of Honor, it was the best business at the point in the company's history."
Even though there may be talents in both partnering companies who aren't happy that someone in another promotion is potentially taking their TV time, Nick said that everyone is professional and works together. He also said the traditional mentality of only working with those in the same promotion is something that needs to change.
"No one hates each other. The wrestling business is a small business and we're friends with everyone. We have friends in every single company around the world. We don't have rivals, but people love to make it seem that way. I don't know why that is, but I guess it's just something that we do," said Nick.
"I'm still very close with Adam Cole. He obviously wrestles for the rival that people say, NXT. I don't know. It's just something that people like to fantasize about, that we hate them and maybe that's the thing we get out of it."
"I think it just makes things unpredictable when you're working with other companies, and that's what wrestling needs. It gets stuck in the same formula for so long. It gets so boring and easy to predict at times. You don't want that to happen, so when you can make it different and change things up a bit, make it unpredictable, the fans like it more."
"It's almost an easy formula when you explain it that way, but for whatever reason, it's always stuck in that boring formula that has been for so long."
Matt hinted at some possible Impact dream matches earlier, and both brothers revealed what tag teams they would want to face in a dream match in all of wrestling.
"That's a tough one to answer," replied Nick. "I guess the one to go with but most likely won't happen, because you just never know. I would go with The New Day."
"I think what's going on right now, this could be more realistic now than ever," followed Matt. "All these matches we can do with this Impact thing. I would love to wrestle The Motor City Machine Guns on national television because it has been a decade. I would love to wrestle The North and Gallows and Anderson. Who knows? Those are three that I want."
The AEW-Impact partnership is just one of many things that fans can expect come 2021, and The Bucks shared other goals they have for the new year.
"The goal for me is to still the main event a pay-per-view as the tag team champions, and I'll always have that goal," stated Nick. "So hopefully, in 2021, we can make that a reality."
"I think things are just going to get crazier," said Matt. "I would say buckle up, because I know [at Dynamite last week] was kind of the start of a major shakeup. We got some big ideas, so, stay tuned. I think 2021 is going to be nuts."
The full interview drops this Tuesday on the The Living The Gimmick Patreon for free.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Living The Gimmick podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.